RP-M PETRA: The Crystalline Woodlands of Forterra.   Posted by The Empress.Group: 0
The Empress
 GM, 302 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Sat 12 Jan 2019
at 04:25
RP PETRA: Forterra
Curiously, you noted that the heart-crystal within Amitoj was also growing, as the crystal within the Zarroki had, albeit much more slowly.

Amitoj was on his backfoot throughout the entirety of the meeting and greeting. You could watch is mind working, trying to get ahold of what was the custom here and how he could avoid causing offense. Every time someone touched him, you could feel the sharp sting of his embarrassment, and his own mental effort to not betray that same embarrassment. In the excitement, his discomfort was overlooked.

At the bench, Amitoj paused, the movement of his eyes showing mental calculation, before he sat down exactly one and a half feet away from you.

He scratched the fur between his ears. "Well. You're . . . it's different from universe to universe, but there are two general ways the universe goes about the business of god-making. One way is called Theogenesis, which results in a Divine - a powerful ruler, with a mortal race that serves them, and realm that serves as their base of operations.

The other way is . . . a strange version I've only seen on two other trees - by tree, I mean world-tree, a universe organized into several different dimensional realities, or worlds, that have different timelines and don't touch - you can't walk from one to the other . . ."


He sighed.

"This is difficult. I'll simplify. There are gods that rule above their people - the god is a ruler of the land and the people. There are also gods that born among the people, live mortal lives, and then - as a duty, not a birthright - they take on the role of . . wardens for their race and land. An Anima is a blend of the people of the land, and the land itself . . they're an interlocutor.

The biggest difference is, that Divines inherently distrust one another and become friends only rarely and usually as a result of political concerns. Anima, on the other hand, tend to easily befriend one another - they are less interested in power, and more interested in just . . . living . . . because they know what it's like to be mortal. They're grounded, but they have a hard time growing in power.

"But . . . Anima are rare. They only exist in universes that don't fear the great enemy - the Void, and the Old Ones. Kookhe doesn't worry about them because it's even more insane and chaotic than they are. This place . .  I don't know this place."


His ears flattened. "Your people . . .  are affectionate. It's strange. I'm not sure I've ever done anything with another being but fight and kill them." He rubbed his eyes. "I . . . when they're close, it's like I can feel something, some kind of kinship. I don't know what's happening to me - I'm a hunter, a killer of killers. Why do I feel so much emotion, now?"

He smelled faintly of . . . lavender, and amber, and vanilla. A deep sweetness, but not heavy. You drew a connection - the males of his species had floral scents, and the females chose spicy scents.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:25, Sat 12 Jan.

Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 46 posts
Sun 13 Jan 2019
at 08:10
RP PETRA: Forterra
"It's the crystal." Petra held out a finger. The skin at the tip crumbled and fell away like dry earth as a small rosy-pink crystal grew out from the bone beneath. "Long ago, so long that it is difficult for me to separate my own memories from the myths and legends, the people of this land were much like you describe yourself. They did little besides fight and kill. The heartcrystal changed that."

She flicked the little crystal, creating a soft, clear ringing vibration that seemed to pierce straight through Amitoj's flesh and tingle in his bones. "I'll tell you the whole story some time, if you like, but the short version is that Petra, who is me, but also not, traveled deep into the earth and joined with the world's own heart, creating me, and the heartcrystal that you see everywhere, and that is now in you and your troop."

She held out a second finger, and another crystal grew from the tip. "The heartcrystal resonates. Touch one..." She flicked the first crystal, setting it to ringing. "And any near by will sing the same song." Petra gripped the first crystal, quieting it, but the sound continued, clearly coming from the second. "The crystal inside of you resonates with your feelings, and when it does, the other crystals near by do as well. That is how the heartcrystal binds us, and how it finally brought peace to Forterra."

The little crystals dropped off Petra's fingers, ringing softly as they fell to the ground. She turned on the bench to face Amitoj directly, taking his hands in her own. "It saddens me that you have led a life filled with killing and pain, and that your people, your god, your home, suffered such a terrible fate."

To an outside observer, Petra's sentiments might have seemed feigned. Her tone was sincere, if not particularly impassioned, but her expression was beyond placid, and her eyes were dry. And yet... To Amitoj, even the trace bits of crystal in him were enough to communicate a veritable ocean of grief and empathy flowing from her hands to his own. It was a pure feeling, devoid of pity, made only from a deep sadness that such terrible things could happen.

"But, I am also glad. Glad that you and your kind have come here. That we might give you some respite from your long journey." Her tone and expression did not change, but Amitoj could feel the truth of her joy almost as though it was his own.

"I am also glad that you bring so much knowledge and experience to us." The joy became muted, tempered with grim determination. "As much as I am loath to admit it, a new age is dawning on Forterra. I fear that the Zarroki was only the beginning. Still..." Now, she smiled. "If it means new friends, we will welcome it. And woe to those who think us easy prey."
The Empress
 GM, 320 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Sun 13 Jan 2019
at 23:55
RP PETRA: Forterra
Amitoj was silent. His emotions - once a roil, settled to an easy flow.

Within him was a dawning sense of wonder. Then, your vision flickered and turned to darkness.

Amitoj was in your head - reaching through the crystal. He waited, and you sensed you could end this at any time by blinking twice.

You saw a point of light - Amitoj.

More points appeared - scores of them. Everyone Amitoj had ever known, connected by colored threads that corresponded to the relationships between them.

Your attention was drawn from Amitoj, to yourself, to the Realm.

Time sank downward. You went through the realm, beneath it, falling through a stem, into a branch, into a bough, into the trunk of the World-Tree. A shift, and step clockwise.

Back to the trunk, to the bough, to the branch, to the steam, to -

Rivuria. A different realm. A memory - a simulation of a world within the spirit of Amitoj. Genetic memory, so to speak.

It was a Forterra without the Heartcrystal. There were no predators, and the Merits lived their peacefully, living lives bound by a psychic bond - how closely it imitated the Heartcrystal!

Then, you were seeing double. He was tracing the same pattern again, running through his mind and yours, connected by heartcrystal and psychic connection.

The exact same simulation of his genetic memory, but the one run using the Heartcrystal went differently. There was no Rivura - even with the shift - it was just Forterra, both times, but this time - the psychic nature of the critters was due to a microscopic amount of heartcrystal.

The simulation ended. You came back to yourself. The entire 'simulation' had taken about three seconds, but had felt a little longer with your eyes closed.

Amitoj was resting his chin on his hands, in silent thought.

"We have so many homelands. The memory was a jumble. We had to originate somewhere. From some universe."

He leaned against the back of the bench. "Petra. You're the . . . spirit of this place. You know . . the Zarroki was alien. Look at me. Am I like the Zarroki? Or . . . am I . . ."
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 50 posts
Mon 14 Jan 2019
at 23:39
RP PETRA: Forterra
The wind sighed through the trees, the sound mixing with the soft muttering of excited voices echoing through the village. Petra released Amitoj's hands and stood to begin pacing slowly around the bench. "Like the Zarroki?" She mused, half to herself. "No..." She stopped, facing Amitoj with the village behind her. The sun dipped below the trees, casting the whole clearing into sudden darkness. "Certainly not that."

Petra held out a hand for Amitoj. Behind her, the village slowly emerged from the darkness. The happy sounds grew louder as both Filfeex and Merits scampered between the buildings hanging lanterns, filling the clearing with a warm glow.

"Welcome home, Amitoj."
The Empress
 GM, 344 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Tue 15 Jan 2019
at 00:53
RP PETRA: Forterra
Tentatively at first, and then fiercely, he hugged you, a mix of feelings coming through - gratitude, homecoming, and something you felt he was trying to hide - a shy attraction to you, in that way.

He gently let you go. "Well. Okay. There's a party, right? Should we go join?"
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 51 posts
Tue 15 Jan 2019
at 05:38
RP PETRA: Forterra
Petra hugged him in return, patting his head affectionately. She smiled ruefully over his shoulder. She couldn't blame him for feeling that way, though she wasn't so sure it was a good thing. She would have to think on it.

"Indeed there is, though I fear now that it is too small for the occasion. Never the less, it will have to do for now." Petra led him back into the village, into the gathering crowd of joyful Merits and Filfeex.

It was a simple but sincere celebration, with plenty of food, song, and dance. In between there were friendly contests of skill and strength, from simple arm-wrestling to elaborate challenges using kestos and other feats of synchronism.

At some point in the evening, Petra shared the news to everyone, that not only were the Merits here to stay, but that they were in fact long-lost kin returned to them through incredible trials by the blessings of Forterra itself. She also announced that there would be another celebration, a great gathering of all the Filfeex at the Heart's Rest to welcome them properly a few months hence.
The Empress
 GM, 354 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Tue 15 Jan 2019
at 21:11
RP PETRA: Forterra
Amitoj took note that you'd noticed what he'd tried to hide. "We'll talk about that later."

Amitoj mixed easily with the villagers, quite comfortable with the 'stony' nature of the Filfeex, although the affection still was a little stiff from him.

The feats of synchronization were interesting, to stay the least, especially with the entire of troop of Merits gathered around a single of of their number, who then offered a tiny paw to match with the Kestos of Ashton.

And won, swiftly. A rematch was issued, with Ashton not going easy on the little bunny, which . . . won again.

"My little guys can resonate multiplicatively when they are in close proximity, boosting effectiveness in most any venture. I'm sure the Filfeex could do similarly, given a few months of practice."

Some of the young Filfeex had started bonding with individual Merits, feeding them and brushing dirt from their hides.

As things were winding down, Amitoj found you again. "I'd like to discuss a little bit about my culture with you," he said. "Specifically, why I'm very glad you met me first, not a female Marshal."

He went on to explain that male Marshals like him were generally more concerned with protecting their troop than anything else, which required they be empathetic and not scary. Not so with female Marshals, who often left their Troops with a collective warren and went out hunting by their lonesome.

Female marshals killed for fun, and often. They loved 'avenging' minor issues with murder. When they found - or rather, tracked down - a male of the species, they would, as he described it, "Press their affection." This could be a rather traumatic event for the male Marshal, who would yield in exchange for being able to send his troop safely away from the female Marshal, so they wouldn't see what happened. Their culture was strictly matriarchal.

"So, when . . . I say I feel affection for you, in that way, it doesn't mean I'm ever going to do anything about it. I have no idea how I would even go about it, or what the result would be, or anything. I've spent my life constantly on the hunt because it was the best way to avoid the only idea of 'romance' I have.

"If you ever do feel something back, please don't just act on it. We'll need to talk about it. Extensively. And . . go very slow. And only after we've been friends for good while. Hunted whatever threatens this peace .  . together.

"Especially since you're my goddess, now."

Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 52 posts
Wed 16 Jan 2019
at 05:12
RP PETRA: Forterra
Petra watched the pile of Merits tip Ashton over with great interest. "That is a... very interesting ability." Vaguely formed ideas of what might be accomplished through the combination of the Merit's powers and the Filfeex own resonance powers already danced in the back of her mind.

A small child was riding her shoulders when Amitoj found her, with a Merit riding atop the child. She set them down and shooed them away as he approached, sensing his desire to talk.

Petra listened, making little effort to conceal her surprise that such a seemingly brutal culture could produce someone like him. "Hm. Well, I do have to agree that meeting you was the lucky path. Forterra is a welcoming place, but there is no room for any of that kind of thing here." She crossed her arms, visibly miffed and resonating both disapproval and a fierce protectiveness.

Of course, those feelings were put away once the topic shifted to Amitoj's own feelings. "It's alright Amitoj. Really, your not the first one to feel that way. It's just... My normal way of dealing with it is to just be somewhere else until they get over it. For you... well, I think I'm going to need you around for a little while." She smiled and took his hand.

"I don't know if I can truly return your affections. I am a symbol of sorts... A 'goddess', like you say. I don't know if it would be right for me to hold one above others in my heart, if I even truly could. And physically... Well, suffice to say I am more like the old stone heart of Forterra than the original flesh-and-blood Petra in that regard." Amitoj could feel both that she was actually slightly embarrassed, and that she was making some effort to conceal it.

"Ah! That reminds me. I need to teach you a bit about controlling the resonance. You can quiet your own crystal to some extent, both to hide your own feelings or lessen the noise from others. It's rarely perfect, but just the attempt of hiding something is enough to signal that it's something you'd rather not talk about."
The Empress
 GM, 371 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Thu 17 Jan 2019
at 07:57
RP PETRA: Forterra
Amitoj knelt, then sat cross-legged. "Resonance, I've heard that term. It's what you can do with the Kestos, right? And it has to do with the telempathy." He rested his elbow on his leg, with his fist supporting his chin. "Can you train me to use resonance as the Filfeex do?"

"Additionally. I admire you, and that is a significant component to my affection. You're strong, but not hard. Alert, but not anxious. Your presence is reassuring."

The party was finished, and parents were returning the little ones to bed, along with their new merit friends.

Amitoj noticed. "In the morning, then. If it's . . not to much to ask, I'm not used to sleeping alone, but my troop seems to have been adopted. Would you mind if we shared your bed tonight?"

Perhaps oddly, his intentions were entirely pure. You got no hint that he had any association between rest and courtship; which made sense, since as described, he knew it as something communal.
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 53 posts
Thu 17 Jan 2019
at 22:48
RP PETRA: Forterra
"Yes, though there are many nuanced differences, both our ability to read each other and to move the kestos comes from the heartcrystal in our bones." Petra lifted a finger, and a small fragment of loose crystal zipped up from the ground to hover just above the last joint. She wiggled her finger, and the shard followed the movement perfectly.

"I can teach you how to do it, though it may be difficult for you. At least for now anyway. You still have only a small amount of crystal in you, less even than a young Filfeex." The shard began to move down her finger, then across the knuckles, the back of her hand, down to the elbow and back up again, all in one smooth motion. She smiled wryly and let the shard fall into her palm. "It's silly, here I am, goddess of the realm and I'm showing off. And to someone who can't even appreciate it yet as well." She tossed the shard to Amitoj, then straightened her shoulders to take on a very imperious posture. "I'll have you know that the thing I just did is considered very difficult."

Petra stared down her nose at him for a moment, then laughed, pulling him into a friendly hug. "I'm glad I can bring you some comfort, and I would be happy to keep you company tonight." She stepped away, pulling him along by one hand towards one of the many little houses. "Come on then, tomorrow will be busy!"
The Empress
 GM, 401 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Sat 19 Jan 2019
at 00:41
RP PETRA: Forterra
Petra's was home was no larger than any other, smaller in fact, given that she lived alone.

It was a two-room affair - a front room with something of a kitchen and larder on the left, some seating on the right, and a hearth in the middle of the home.

Towards the back was bed room, a pile of woven blankets over fresh, soft hay.

Amitoj went about gathering some wood for the hearth, building the fire with skill.

After an hour, he was satisfied with the way the small fire was burning - it would settle into warm coals overnight - went with you to bed.

He slept rather curiously, curled into a fetal position with hugging his long furred tail to himself. He took advantage of a blanket, but otherwise seemed unfazed by the mild chill of the night.

He was . .  far less fearsome while sleeping. Adorable, in fact.
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 61 posts
Sun 20 Jan 2019
at 09:12
RP PETRA: Forterra
While Amitoj stoked the fire, Petra changed into a simple nightgown and checked over the bedding, making sure it was in good order and sufficient quantity. Satisfied, she settled in.

When Amitoj joined her, she rolled closer, hugging his bundled form against her chest like a big pillow.
The Empress
 GM, 441 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Sun 20 Jan 2019
at 22:29
RP PETRA: Forterra
Amitoj relaxed when hugged, falling deeper into sleep.

You dreamed of blood and dark fruit, of the heart-crystal twisting into vines and trees of crystal, of knocking your toe against the frame of Isabelle's front door that one time and how long it took to repair the wall afterward -

You awoke at dawn, and Amitoj stirred, rubbing his eyes. "Oh no. You probably won't have food for me," he said, his stomach expressing a concerted interest in breakfast. "I'm an insectivore, primarily. I can eat other things, but they aren't terribly good for me."

He turned on his side, looking at you. "What do the Filfeex eat? Are bugs part of your diet? Do you guys eat together like I do with my troop, or separately like you sleep?"
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 63 posts
Mon 21 Jan 2019
at 02:19
RP PETRA: Forterra
Petra sat up slowly, placing a finger against her lips in a contemplative pose. "Insects is it?" She thought for a moment. "The Filfeex primarily eat fruits and vegetables. We can eat meat, but everything here is infused with the heartcrystal and resonates to some degree. It makes slaughtering animals for food... unpleasant." She made a small shrug.

"Insects though... They would probably be alright. They aren't really complex enough to feel anything particularly distressing." She stood, turning to offer Amitoj a hand to pull him out of the little pit of blankets and cushions they'd sunken into over night. "As for eating habits... That really depends on the individual and circumstances. Morning meals are usually family affairs, house by house. Midday meals are often taken either alone or with others depending on occupation and daily work. Evening meals are sometimes communal, but just as often limited to family groups or even taken alone. It differs by village too."

Petra strolled over to where she'd hung her day-dress the night before and quickly shucked off her nightgown before slipping the dress over her shoulders. "I don't eat much, but I like to share meals with others. Why don't we stop by, oh... Isabelle's house? I bet her children..." She paused, thoughtful, "Or is it grandchildren now..." She shook her head slightly, then shot Amitoj a smile. "Well, either way, I'm sure we can find you some forest bugs. I'll have to show you how to shiver them too. Don't want shards stuck in your teeth."
The Empress
 GM, 465 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Mon 21 Jan 2019
at 22:47
RP PETRA: Forterra
"Shiver them . . ?" Amitoj said sleepily, making a motion like cutting something open with a knife. Then it dawned on him, and he set up straight. "Heartcrystal, right? You 'shiver' the crystal with resonance to remove it from the food?"

He stood, walking over to the hearth. He studied you as you changed clothes. "Do you get cold easily? Clothing is a functional thing for me. I only wear it when I need protection, or for carrying things."

Perhaps that was the first time you notice that Amitoj had no clothes besides the baldric of weapons and his quiver. Despite being mostly human, Anything untoward was naturally hidden by sandy yellow fur.

"Do you think the other villagers are made less comfortable by my lack of covering? I would be happy to wear some loose pants, if you think it would be more decent."

"For some reason, I already care very much about the feelings of your people. They are good, all of them,"
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 68 posts
Tue 22 Jan 2019
at 01:16
RP PETRA: Forterra
"That's exactly it!" Petra grinned. "Just because it's inside living things doesn't mean it stops being rocks. Some things are safe to eat without shivering since their crystal deposits are fine enough that it just gives them a slightly gritty texture, but I think we might get away with that because the heartcrystal keeps our teeth from wearing out."

When he asked about pants, she took a moment to consider. "Well... I don't think anyone really minds all that much, but it might not be a bad idea to wear something. If nothing else, it will keep the children from getting any funny ideas about whether they should be wearing pants." Petra rolled her eyes. "The little ones run around naked enough as it is."

Some of the villagers were already out and about when they stepped outside, cleaning up the remains of the celebration or getting started with their usual business. "Cold? Well, I do get cold easily, but it doesn't affect me all that much. It's... well, remember when I said I took after the old stone heart? I wasn't using a euphemism." She glanced around, checking to see who was near. "Here, watch, I'll show you."

At first, it was hard to tell what she was expecting him to see, but then he started to notice little things. The subtle patterning of her skin became more pronounced, irregular groupings of light and dark, interspersed with glittering flecks and veins. Her hair no longer moved in the breeze and her features seemed suddenly hard and lifeless, though only through the lack of their previous life and softness. All together, it looked like Petra had been suddenly replaced by an almost perfect statue of herself.

And yet the statue moved. She took Amitoj's hand and placed it on her cheek. It was as hard and cool as the stone it appeared to be. 'You could think of this as my true self.' Her mouth didn't move, rather, her voice seemed to come up through his hand, echoing through his own bones. 'When I speak of my people as 'The Filfeex', rather than simply saying 'us' or 'we', this is why. I am as different from them as I am from you.'

And then just as suddenly, her cheek was soft again, though still a bit cold. "Though perhaps that isn't all that different, is it?" She smiled. "This is something like an illusion, though more real than a simple phantasm. After all, I'm only half-rock on my Father's side." She skipped a few steps away, then stopped. "Or do you think it would be my mother's side?" Petra shrugged. "Doesn't matter much. Isabelle's house is just down the way, I bet she'll have a pair of pants that will fit you!"
The Empress
 GM, 477 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Wed 23 Jan 2019
at 07:49
RP PETRA: Forterra
Amitoj was in awe as he touched you. He said your name, but oddly your powers altered the translation - he was speaking in his language. Tthe translation was long and complex. "The walls of home / dry ground / southern guardian / she who endures / familial unity"

His breathing was shallow and fast, his heart rate increasing. "Petra . . . "

"You're beautiful. No! I prefer - I prefer your truth. We are diggers. We live in the earth. Petra is . . Petra. It's like honor, and friendship, and safety. The women came first from the womb of the earth, and the men were born after, to be their helpers. In the myth, our God died because he betrayed Petra by asserting dominance over the women. When the hunters came to take him, and he fled his palace on the surface and went to hide within the warren of his mothers, the earth spurned him, closed up and shut him out. All those who followed him were swallowed up by the fog of death, but those that were loyal to the way of their mothers survived in the safety of Petra's arms,"

He looked you in the eyes. "You are Petra. You are kindness and good fortune and the shield of the children."

No one had ever looked at you like that, with passionate wonder and astonishment.

"Yes . . yes, let's go to her house, see about food and clothing," He said. "Petra provides, as the saying goes,"

His affection for you was mixed with the joy of homecoming. You were his goddess. His affection was less shy; there was an adamant quality to it now, as if he was prepared to tunnel to the core of Forterra if that's what it took to earn your admiration.

He wore his baldric and left his quiver behind. "I'll need to fashion a new bow as well. What wood is used for tools here? How low is the water table, and what is the composition of the soil? How deep down is the bedrock?"

He coughed. "Sorry. It's traditional to beseech Petra when planning to dig a new warren."

=

The walk was short but pleasant; the day was cloudy and cool for late spring, with a northeasterly breeze. The village wasn't too busy, since most of the Filfeex were busy in the fields this time of day.

An elderly Filfeex with flopped ears whom must have been the very same Isabelle answered the door of the house that showed evidence of a major repair sometime in the past. "Petra! For what do you darken my doorstep today?"

She hugged you. "Come in, come in. I've cordial, elderberry, I need a taste-tester,"

She took in Amitoj. "I see you've brought a friend. He looks a bit strange, is he from a far village? I heard mention of him from my grandson who attended the party,"

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:51, Wed 23 Jan.

Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 72 posts
Thu 24 Jan 2019
at 03:05
RP PETRA: Forterra
The sudden intensity of Amitoj's feelings caught Petra off guard for a moment, so much so that she almost blushed. "I'm glad you like it Amitoj. Though I don't choose to appear this way out of any embarrassment. It's just... well, your own reaction to it tells the story. I'm not so filled with false humility that I would reject anyone's worship, but worship is a very lonely way to be loved." She took his hand and pulled him to walk close at her side. "I wear this face so I can be closer to everyone. Think about it. Would you feel the same way about me if you had only ever seen me in true stone? Or would I be an unapproachable diva, too holy for the touch of mere mortals?"

She let him go as the subject turned to more practical matters, providing answers to some questions, and referring him to the local craftspeople for others.

=

Petra returned Isabelle's hug gladly, stepping carefully over the doorframe as they were ushered in.

"That sounds wonderful Isabelle." She looked back at Amitoj, following Isabelle's gaze. "This is Amitoj. He and his troop are lost kin returned to us from beyond the very edge of the world. We thought it might be best if he had some pants, and were hoping you might have an old pair that you could spare. And also that some of the younger ones might be interested in a little bug hunting."
The Empress
 GM, 502 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Thu 24 Jan 2019
at 10:24
RP PETRA: Forterra
"Oh, I don't see why he would need pants. The young ladies need all the excitement they can get in this village, don't you agree?" She said cheekily. "Oh, very well. I'm sure I can find something of my son's."

Sure enough, she came back with a few pairs after seating you with some tea, shortbread, and good (if still in need of further fermenting) cordial. The pants were plain, natural cloth intended for working in. The plain sash belt was serviceable enough; Amitoj really was quite lean compared to the more 'fluffy' average Filfeex, having the body composition of an endurance runner.

"My grandaughter should be back from helping in the fields in an hour or two. We'll see if she and her friends are up for catching some bugs. It's nice that you so often take the time to mind the children, Petra."

Amitoj smiled at that. "She'll be a fine mother someday."

Blink.

Blink blink.

"What did you say, dear?"

"Oh, just that she'll be a good mother," Amitoj repeated. "Did I say something off?"

Isabelle met your eyes. From her resonance, you could tell as far as she knew you weren't able to have children and that Amitoj was making quite the social gaff and embarrassing you.
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 75 posts
Sun 27 Jan 2019
at 02:31
RP PETRA: Forterra
Petra took a sip of tea, letting Amitoj stew in his confusion for a moment. She looked at him over the rim of the cup, her expression cool. "Really Amitoj, I know I do a good job of looking like a fresh young maiden, so I suppose I can't be all that upset when you talk about me like a youth just waiting to bloom into adulthood. But we just went over this not a few minutes ago."

She lowered the cup, revealing a grin, showing how amused she was on her face at the same time she let them feel it in resonance. She laughed. "A fine mother some day? Dear, I'm older than the Filfeex. I may not have gone through the messy business of birthing, but I'm already a mother many, many times over." She took one of his ears between finger and thumb and gave it a playful tug. "Now put on your pants you silly boy."
The Empress
 GM, 527 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Sun 27 Jan 2019
at 13:02
RP PETRA: Forterra
He blushed. "I didn't think -"

"Your . . . nature, shouldn't be any issue. Among my people, the fruit of courtship is obtained through a union of spirit . . ."

Amitoj blushed deeper, his eyes darting between you and the elder. He sampled the shortbread, then the cordial, avoiding the tea.

He put on the pants. "I feel more naked now than before."

He made a face. "I'm not a boy! I'm practically an elder, for a male. Most males of my people don't live past 21, and I'm 19."

He blushed again, his eyes evasive. "Don't . . draw a worrisome conclusion from that. I don't have only two years to live. We're just warriors. We fall in battle."

The sun we passing high noon; the younger workers, like the granddaughter and other youth, would be returning from the fields soon.

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:16, Mon 28 Jan.

Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 77 posts
Wed 30 Jan 2019
at 03:23
RP PETRA: Forterra
Petra laughed. "Well then I suppose we are all in good company, revered elder!" She finished her cordial with a quick sip, then stood.

"The young ones should be back soon, and I think that was enough teasing for the moment. How about we go out to meet them?"
The Empress
 GM, 557 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Sat 2 Feb 2019
at 12:19
RP PETRA: Forterra
With a gift of a bottle of her cordial, Isabelle allowed you to run with her granddaughter, also named Isabel. Named tended to run in families among the Filfeex.

The children were quite eager to hunt for bugs, especially once they found it was for their little Merit friends. Amitoj explained that feeding the little merits was the same as feeding him, since he was in a way the spiritual avatar of the troop as a whole (which is why they had introduced themselves by his name).

With the little one's help, a sizable collection of beetles, potato bugs, stick bugs, and earthworms (which also qualified for their diet) was collected. More importantly, an anthill was found, which was a ready source of food. "Termites, ants, bees, and other hive insects are the most reliable sources of food for the troop."

Teaching the little merits to shiver the stone from the bugs required some work, but using their own resonance ability to increase their effectiveness they were able to do it with no problems.

The idea of catching bugs to feed to their little merit pets caught on very easily, and it didn't appear that another explicit bug hunting expedition would ever be necessary again.

Amitoj was satisfied. "I think our two peoples will get along quite well. Especially once my little brothers and sisters learn to resonate with Filfeex to help them focus and complete tasks."

Amitoj was resting on a large stone in the field. "What do you want to do next, then? Perhaps explore further out from here - are there any other nearby villages? We could try to find where my people came from - I remember it being a tall cliff near a wide river's delta."
Petra Filfeex
 Luck, Earth, 82 posts
Mon 4 Feb 2019
at 23:21
RP PETRA: Forterra
Petra followed along, leaving most of the actual hunting to the children. With the Zarroki gone, Forterra was back to it's usual benign self, and there wasn't a need for close supervision. Still, she liked to watch them.

Petra plopped down on the rock next to Amitoj with a sigh. The smaller Isabel was chasing after one of her still younger cousins with a large beetle, eliciting shrieks of laughter and mock terror among the pack.

"She's so much like her grandmother... And her grandmother before..." She trailed off for a moment. "I don't remember everything all the time. There's too much really. But times like this..." She chuckled. "I can't decide if they keep the old names to comfort or confuse me! Of course, it probably doesn't really have anything to do with me at all. At least not any more. It's just the way of things. Still..."

Petra was quiet for a bit, just watching. "Watching them grow up never does get old. I've been over every bit of Forterra hundreds of times over. I am Forterra, in many ways. But the young ones always make it feel new."

She rolled over and started kicking her feet absently. "Speaking of which, finding your ancestral... 'birthing place'? Sounds like an excellent idea. I'm honestly still a little confused by some of the specifics of it all, and that would be a great place to sort things out. Plus, I still want to have a big festival, and that means telling all the other villages, of which there are many, by the way." She rolled forward, somersaulting off the rock.

"There aren't all that many river deltas, and I can only think of a few with nearby cliffs. We should probably head for the Amberrun first. I don't know if it's the most likely site, but the other candidates I can think of are all down-coast from it, so it'll be an easy walk from there."
The Empress
 GM, 582 posts
 Hopeless Romantic
Sat 9 Feb 2019
at 09:30
RP PETRA: Forterra
On you back, kicking your feet, you felt a subtle rush of embarrassment from Amitoj as his eyes traced the muscles of your legs. He looked away casually, suppressing the emotion. "The Amberrun? If that's the name of the river, I never knew it . . . we called Forterra by a different name, and called our home River's End . .  the Kusimanse tribe lived in the swamps north of the delta, and the proud Whitetails to the east, and at the furthest end of the south, there were villages of other folk who didn't know magic . . ."

He leapt to his feet. "This Amberrun, is it's delta to the north? I feel like north-flowing rivers are a little rare?"

He looked at his hands. "But there is another memory, that's very different. It says that my birthplace is called Olwydd, and lies on a island in the middle of a wide river that flows through a temperate rain forest . . ."

"I'm not sure any of my memories are reliable. I have no idea how old they are, or if they are the same Forterra that you know. I may be leading us on a wild moose chase."